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Constructing Confidence and Trust Online: English Department continues Cooperation with the Balkans

Long-term academic cooperation between Chemnitz and six Balkan countries will continue in 2021 - Students and professors from Germany, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Serbia will continue to focus their discussions on the topic “Constructing Confidence and Trust Online”

The Chair of English Language and Linguistics, Prof. Dr. Josef Schmied, will continue his cooperation with several Southeast European Universities next year. The central concepts “uncertainty”, “confidence” and “trust” of this year’s project will be taken up again next year when parts of the discussion will take place online. This extraordinary situation under the pandemic did not allow the partners to meet in person this year, which is why the workshop and the summer school took place online. This inspired the team under Prof. Schmied to apply for a continuation with a bigger online component. The great news of the acceptance arrived last week. 

This cooperation takes up the suggestions from the online experience of 2020 and tries to combine on-line and off-line dialogue. The central theme "Constructing Confidence and Trust Online" will be discussed, further developed, and applied during our workshop in Kosovo in May 2021 and our summer school in Serbia in September 2021. The positive and constructive establishment of self-confidence and trust online is a central problem of modern digital academic and journalistic writing. First, the self-confidence of the "constructor" and then the trust of the listener or reader has to be established and increased. To build (self-)trust online in dialogue seems even more difficult than during offline meetings. To tackle this issue in practice, the partners will discuss the progress of the offline events and their individual research projects in additional online sessions. The teacher’s experiences in online teaching, especially in times when nothing else is advised or allowed, will be included. The students will again work in international mixed groups as this has been highly appreciated in the last years. Furthermore, trust-building social activities such as karaoke and dance evenings and a day trip that promote understanding and trust will be organized again.

This new project, which includes researchers from the fields of English Linguistics, Media Research, Journalism, TESOL and Cultural Studies, is again generously funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) through their programme “Ost-West-Dialog: Hochschuldialog mit den Ländern des westlichen Balkans 2021”. As in previous years, the main focus is on enhancing the interaction between students from the Balkans, who are neighbours but might still have prejudices, as well as improving students’ academic writing and presentation skills. The last projects have shown that still a lot needs to be done in encouraging mutual understanding and in building more trust between students from different Balkan countries. This project tries to contribute to a positive development. After all, this project does not only aim at improving the academic performance of the students, but mainly also at promoting cultural understanding.


Prof. Dr. Josef Schmied, Tel. 0371 531-34226, email

Jessica Dheskali, Tel. 0371 531-35292, email

(Author: Jessica Dheskali)

Matthias Fejes

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